Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Thirty-three years ago today, the science fiction horror comedy cult classic film Killer Klowns from Outer Space premiered. It is weirder and funnier than you are thinking. It is definitely not for anyone that doesn’t like clowns. There are a lot of clowns and a lot of murder, which I think is the main reason people that don’t like clowns don’t like them. I mean, it’s all in the film title.

Title: Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Directed by: Stephen Chiodo
Produced by: Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, and Stephen Chiodo
Written by: Charles Chiodo and Stephen Chiodo
Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, Royal Dano, and John Vernon
Music by: John Massari
Cinematography: Alfred Taylor
Edited by: Christopher Roth
Production Company: Chiodo Bros.
Distributed by: Trans World Entertainment
Release date: May 27, 1988
Running time: 88 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $1.8 million

Just outside the town of Crescent Cove, Mike Tobacco and his girlfriend Debbie Stone are parked with other couples at the local lovers’ lane when they spot a strange glowing object falling to Earth. Nearby, farmer Gene Green, believing it to be Halley’s Comet, ventures into the woods to find the impact site. He stumbles upon a large circus tent-like structure, and he and his dog are captured by mysterious clownish aliens, the “Klowns”. Mike and Debbie arrive to investigate for themselves. Entering the structure, they discover a complex interior with elevators and bizarre rooms. They find a gelatinized Green encased in a cotton candy-like cocoon and are spotted by a klown, who shoots popcorn at them from a bazooka-like weapon and then chases them aided by another one who uses a living balloon dog.

Narrowly escaping, they report the incident to Debbie’s ex-boyfriend, Deputy Dave Hanson, and his curmudgeonly partner, Deputy Curtis Mooney. Mike and Dave return to the woods, only to find the tent gone, leaving a large crater in its place. They travel to the lovers’ lane, only to find all the cars abandoned and covered in the cocoon’s substance. The klowns begin encasing townspeople in cocoons using rayguns that resemble toys. Several klowns perform pranks and mock circus acts, which result in the deaths of many onlookers.

Mike and Dave witness a klown using shadow puppets to shrink a crowd of people, then dump them into a bag full of popcorn, which are revealed to be klowns in larval form. Back at the police station, another klown arrives and Mooney arrests it, believing it to be a teenage prankster. Dave returns to the station to find the place ransacked and the klown using a deceased Mooney as a ventriloquist’s dummy. Dave shoots the alien in the nose, which causes it to spin wildly and explode.

Mike meets with his friends Rich and Paul, the Terenzi brothers, and using the PA speaker on their ice cream truck, they drive around town attempting to warn people of the klowns. At Debbie’s house, popcorn from her earlier encounter with the klowns evolves into juvenile klowns and attacks her. As she attempts to escape, she is intercepted by the klowns, who trap her in a giant balloon. Mike, Dave, and the Terenzis witness Debbie’s capture and give chase, following the klowns to the local amusement park, where they have relocated their tent. Journeying through a funhouse, the Terenzi brothers become separated. After Dave and Mike witness a klown using a crazy straw to drink gelatinized townspeople blood, they rescue Debbie and flee into a maze full of traps.

The trio then finds themselves surrounded by klowns. The Terenzis arrive in their ice cream truck and use the PA to distract the aliens. A gargantuan klown marionette, Jojo the Klownzilla, appears and destroys the ice cream truck, apparently killing the Terenzis, Dave creates a distraction, and Mike and Debbie escape. The tent begins to spin into the air, revealing it to be a massive spaceship. Dave uses his badge to pierce Jojo’s nose, causing it to explode and destroy the ship. A klown car drops out of the sky and Dave emerges along with the Terenzi brothers, who miraculously survived by hiding in the ice cream truck’s freezer moments before it was destroyed. As the group watches the fireworks created by the ship’s destruction, pies fall from the sky and land on their faces.

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